TITLE: Conserving Small Natural Features with Large Ecological importance
SPEAKERS: Aram Calhoun & Mac Hunter, Wildlife, Fisheries & Conservation Biology, UMaine
Seminar co-sponsored by the Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries & Conservation Biology
Small Natural Features (SNFs) are analogous to keystone species in that they have ecological importance that is disproportionate to their small size. Consider coral heads in a sea grass dominated bay, groundwater springs in a desert, or the narrow riparian zones that line streams.
The recognition and management of SNFs can be an efficient way to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services. In particular, while the small size of SNFs can engender threats (e.g., they are often overlooked and are relatively vulnerable to complete destruction), small size also leads to special conservation opportunities (e.g., integration with resource uses such as forestry or fisheries). In practice, conservation of SNFs should be complementary to traditional, larger-scale, forms of conservation by engendering creative, constructive efforts to conserve some seemingly minor features; features that have previously unknown or unappreciated roles critical to their broader ecosystems and to biodiversity.
Aram Calhoun is a Professor of Wetland Ecology in the Dept. of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Conservation Biology. Her research focuses on forested wetlands and vernal pool ecosystems. She is particularly interested in conservation of natural resources on private lands and collaborative approaches to conserving wetlands. Dr. Calhoun is active in working at all levels of government on wetland policy and conservation issues.
Malcolm "Mac" Hunter is the Libra Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Maine where his research covers a wide range of organisms and ecosystems and he has produced six books, mainly on conservation issues. His interests are also geographically broad with work in over 30 countries, including leading a global professional organization, the Society for Conservation Biology.